To better understanding the evolutionary characteristics of pore structure in marine shale with high thermal maturity, a natural Longmaxi marine shale sample from south China with a high equivalent vitrinite reflectance value (Ro = 2.03%) was selected to conduct an anhydrous pyrolysis experiment (500–750 °C), and six artificial shale samples (pyrolysis products) spanning a maturity range from Ro = 2.47% to 4.87% were obtained. Experimental procedures included mercury intrusion, nitrogen adsorption, and carbon dioxide adsorption, and were used to characterize the pore structure. In addition, fractal theory was applied to analyze the heterogeneous pore structure. The results showed that this sample suite had large differences in macropore, mesopore, and micropore volume (PV), as well as specific surface area (SSA) and pore size distributions (PSD), at different temperatures. Micropore, mesopore, and macropore content increased, from being unheated to 600 °C, which caused the pore structure to become more complex. The content of small diameter pores (micropores and fine mesopores, <10 nm) decreased and pores with large diameters (large mesopores and macropores, >10 nm) slightly increased from 600 to 750 °C. Fractal analysis showed that larger pore sizes had more complicated pore structure in this stage. The variance in pore structure for samples during pyrolysis was related to the further transformation of organic matter and PSD rearrangement. According to the data in this study, two stages were proposed for the pore evolution for marine shale with high thermal maturity.
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